I tried doing this some time ago, and quickly realized that with the investment of time/effort and SW you're better off buying a CD for each vinyl album you have. It's very hard to separate tracks automatically, so unless you want each LP side to be a track by itself, you need to manually separate them. Of course if you have LP's not available on CD then it's possibly worth it.
. . . but, that's not what you asked. Since I punted I don;t have any good advice on SW, but there's been a good deal of discussion on this already though. Search the archives and you'll find prior discussions. I suggest search terms like "software" , "ripping" , and "vinyl to cd".
The better question is not what software, but what hardware.
You basically need an analog to digital converter, which is the opposite of a DAC. You can spend anywhere from $100 to $1000 or more for one.
I use the M-Audio Mbox, which can be had used for $150. (I'm assuming you have a computer and CD burning capability) It's a slow process: play lp into mbox, create fades, 'bounce to disc' (again, in real time), transfer files to (with my Mac) Itunes, burn disc. The CDs sound great.
The Korg MR1000 allows you to record at 1-bit 5.6MHz sampling rate onto a 40GB hard drive. That's the best archival quality that I've found. You can then downconvert and record to DVD-Audio for recordings that will be superior to Redbook CDs.
Search for Korg MR1000 threads to see some past reviews and discussion. Alesis and some others make AD converter/CD burners that do a great job of getting you to CD-quality. The Korg is a leap further up the quality chain.
I would say most people have an analog to digital conveter. It is call a computer. I like Bdgregory have done this in the past but, soon realized it was not worth the time to me.
I can't give a comparison between different software as, I only tried one. If I remember correctly it is called Audacity. Fairly simple to use and has many options on what quality to record at. Easy to separate the tracks too. Best of all I got it free off the internet.
You need a good D/A converter; I use an M-Audio Delta 1010. The one in your computer hardly qualifies. You also need decent mastering software. I have used Wavelab (about $500, I guess), which has most of the necessary tools, but is very hard to learn (you probably will want to use some plug-ins, e.g. click and pop filter, equalization, dithering algorithm) and good cd-burning capability. CYou can can burn to 16 bit.wav files or even do higher bit rates if you plan to burn to a dvd or hard drive and play back on a music server. But I agree with Bdgregory above. The amount of work involved in doing it right is enormous. You are likely to quickly realize this and give up on the project. Besides, the records will still sound better.
I think that the people that find this too much trouble don't actually enjoy their vinyl. Since I listen to vinyl 90% of the time when I'm at home, it's no real bother to turn on the Korg MR1000 to record an album and remembering to jump up to key in a breaks between the songs. If you do that, then the digital playback will jump from cut to cut as desired. Downconverting and producing DVD-A is then all in the digital domain and pretty efficient.
Someone that thinks that a CD is a replacement for vinyl has now idea of the difference between the two formats.
Geez, don't let these guys scare you away from this. It's not that hard to do, plus if you have a nice sounding vinyl rig the CDs you get are going to sound a lot better than buying them on CD.
Here is a thread with some info on it. http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1194140062
Not including the time it takes to play the LP, I can do the track splitting in about 10 minutes.
You can drive yourself as crazy with this as with any audiophile component or system in terms of looking for the "best" DAC or program, etc. There's lots of good information in the archives.
Here's what I suggest to get you started. Go to http://www.cfbsoftware.com
. Download a trial version of LP Ripper and LP Recorder software. With that, your computer, your turntable, an LP, and a cable to connect your turntable to your computer, you can try out burning LPs to disc and see how involved it is. It's pretty simple. The biggest pain is simply the time of babysitting over the system while it records. It does a good job. If you like it, you can then move up to more complex programs or outboard DACs, etc. You may not want to. You may find it a hassle, or you may find the quality is acceptable without any further equipment or programs.
I thought this unit was a record to hard drive only.
How do you record to a DVD-A to a DVD disc? or what?
Ozzie, the Korg hooks into the computer via USB and then you can down-convert the files with software that comes with it. From there, you can burn DVD-A using a plug-in to Windows Media.
Like I said before, if you enjoy vinyl and actually listen to it, then it's no trouble to archive. OTOH, if you don't normally listen to your records, then it'd be a royal pain. However, that'd raise the question, "why would you archive anything that you don't like?" The export, downconversion and DVD burning are all in the digital domain, so they're pretty efficient.
When I'm recording, I use headphones to assure the best quality. A good turntable to 5.6MHz file will blow away any CD. It's worth the effort, even if you're just going to convert to Apple lossless for you iPhone (I do that). I really do two things, I archive my D2D and better analog recordings at 5.6MHz and then I downconvert to "lossless" quality for iTunes on my office computer and portable devices.
Ideally, the Korg could see an external hard drive, then it'd be useful as a primary source. With only 40G of storage and such large files, it's not convenient for that, yet. Surely in the next year or two that technology will be available.
A poor quality transfer will sound like crap, so why not do a good job while you're at it? It's no more effort to use the highest quality equipment than to use some POS software. I think the decision should be based on budget and quality concerns. The effort is the same whether you do a great job or end up with something you'll never want to listen to.
The Edirol UA-5 made by Roland, retails about $225, comes with drivers, it will make about as good of a transfer as a non-professional is likely to make. Then a good parsing application, I use Roxio with Jam, another $100. But make no mistake, your are talking a couple of hours per record. You will also need lots of disk storage space until you get it mastered, then compressed. The only reason any of this would make any sense, is if you have material simply unavailable in CD format. If you go this route, make sure your external speakers are turned all the way off, monitor through your headphones. My biggest surprise in this whole experience. was how much acoustic energy from the speakers will feed back into the record. That said, I have made some petty impressive transfers, it's just a lot of work. Enjoy.
Two things Tudor, first, you're right to suggest monitoring with headphones, even with the best possible TT, you'll improve the quality of the transfer substantially. Many people fail to realize this and end up with marred recordings.
Second, I find it hard to believe that anyone that's heard good vinyl would find CDs an acceptable alternative. The resolution is not even close in most cases. For me, the point of archiving is to preserve the resolution of the vinyl for archival purposes and secondarily to produce high quality transfers to portable devices. (mp3 is not high quality, IMHO. CD is "acceptable" but only if there's nothing better).
I have done lots of LP to CD transfers because the sonic results are normally much better than the commercial CD release of the same material.
To me it's easiest and best sounding to avoid getting the computer involved until the record is burned on to a CD, after which you can use the computer to split tracks or de-click manually if you desire. BTW, the only way to de-click without destroying the sound is to go in and manually take out each tick by hand. Programs like Cool Edit pro allow you to zoom way in on each tick, one by one, and smooth them out. You are only manipulating a fraction of a second of the recording so that you don't screw up the sound quality. It's a massive pain, but very effective. I normally don't bother.
Sound quality will be greatly affected by the quality of each step in the chain. I have typically used: a Linn LP12/Ekos/AQ Fe5 or SME20/SME V.Vi/VDH Frog Gold or Colibri >>> ARC REF Phono, PH3SE, or PH5 >>>> Meridian 561 (A/D converter) >>>>> the digital input on an Onkyo CD recorder with adjustable level control.
The CD copies tend to sound much more like the LP than a commercial CD. There is much more detail, harmonic information and spatial resolution. It's actually quite amazing.
Yes, the results with good front end and quality A-D is truly amazing.
I find that you CAN get good results burning with a computer; however, there is a minefield of setting that you can get wrong. All the settings on the computer must be optimized. One wrong setting and you're recording at a lower resolution than you intended. A good, dedicated machine is nice. Anybody know of a machine that'll take 1-bit DSD at 5.6MHz and convert to DVD-A. (I don't, but it doesn't hurt to ask).
I have stumbled upon an enjoyable and inexpensive method for digitizing vinyl. I use a $40 iMic, free Final Vinyl software, and Airfoil for monitoring. I have digitized scores of LPs and look forward to scores more.
This can be a great way of making our vinyl collection portable.